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CMAJ. Jan 1, 1995; 152(1): 45–53.
PMCID: PMC1337492

Bicyclist and environmental factors associated with fatal bicycle-related trauma in Ontario.


OBJECTIVE: To identify bicyclist and environmental factors associated with fatal bicycle-related trauma in Ontario. DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING: Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Information was extracted from the provincial coroner's reports on 212 people who had died of bicycle-related injuries in Ontario between 1986 and 1991. OUTCOME MEASURES: Age, sex and helmet use of the bicyclist, time and place of the event, type of bicyclist or motorist error(s) and use of alcohol by bicyclist or motorist. RESULTS: Only 32% of the deaths involved bicyclists under 15 years of age. The male-female ratio was 3.5. Over 75% of the cases involved head injury; however, only 8 (4%) of the bicyclists had been wearing a helmet. In 91% of the cases death occurred as the result of a bicycle-motor vehicle collision. Most (65%) of the deaths for which the time was known occurred between 4 pm and 8 am. Bicyclist error was the main cause of crash for 26 (79%) of the children less than 10 years old; it was also the main cause of crash among the bicyclists aged 10 to 19 years (43 [55%]) and those aged 45 years or more (15 [44%]). However, motorist error was the most common cause of collision in the group of cyclists 20 to 44 years of age (42 [63%]). Alcohol was detected in the blood of 7% of the bicyclists killed; alcohol had been consumed by 30% of the motorists who claimed not to have seen the cyclist. CONCLUSIONS: Bicycle-related deaths result from factors that are generally avoidable. Identifiable risk factors other than lack of helmet use suggest that additional research is required to determine the benefits of preventive interventions aimed at reducing the number of such deaths. Age-specific strategies appear warranted.

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Selected References

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